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Adjectives: where to place them?
For the first time since I've been making these lessons in English (matching those I make in French), I've been facing a predicament... The topic is simple : ADJECTIVES. Yet, if I start explaining them using the terms used in English grammar, I know I'll confuse a great number of you because when you look at these terms with a 'foreign mind', they do not correspond to the pattern of what people are used to in their own languages. Besides, my aim is obviously not to teach British or American people their own language... but to help learners from all countries practise the language we love so much.
Therefore, not to confuse you, I've decided not to use those technical words and speak in terms of description and constructions...
In English, adjectives are NEVER IN THE PLURAL (even if the noun is); the same rule applies to the participles which may have the function of adjectives: present participles : Verb + -ing [ with an active meaning] and past participles Verb + -ed [with a passive meaning] (or 3rd column of the irregular verbs).
Ex : A red dress
A tiring job (a job which tires you => active meaning)
A tired employee (an employee who is tired = passive meaning).
1) Where to place adjectives in the sentence?
a) In English, most of the time, adjectives are placed BEFORE THE NOUN . If there are several of them, there's an order to follow ... (it won't be given in this lesson for beginners.)
ex : a shy student ; an expensive car ; a long dress ; a silly boy.
ex : an exciting adventure ; a frightened man.
b) Yet, in English, some adjectives are placed behind the noun:
- the adjectifs accompanied by a complement :
ex : a full cup => a cup full of tea
a sick mother => a mother sick with worry...
- some adjectives are placed like complements, or Predicates after some verbs : be, become, grow, look, seem. The adjectives = well, ill, glad, drunk, cross.
ex : The man looked so cross that nobody could speak to him ...
- All the adjectives starting with the prefixe a- : asleep, awake, alone, afraid, alive.
ex : The baby finally fell asleep , when it was almost time for his following bottle.
- An adjective can be accompanied by : very, a little, rather, quite, so, too, enough.
ex : In spite of all his friends, the boy was quite lonely and frightened.
Easy, isn't it ? I'm sure you're ready for the test ... Today, we'll be at a show ...
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